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Wed, Oct 18



Teacher attitudes and beliefs about multilingualism and migrant parents: Using Appraisal Analysis in a cross-national co

BethAnne Paulsrud, Dalarna University

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Time & Location

Oct 18, 2023, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM GMT+8

AAB817, HKBU, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong

About the Event

Time: 5:00pm-6:30pm (AGM: 5:00pm-5:15pm; Seminar: 5:15pm-6:30pm)

Venue: AAB817, Academic and Administrative Building, Hong Kong University Road Campus, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon

Teachers’ attitudes and beliefs on multilingualism shape their de facto policies and everyday classroom practices, thus influencing educational outcomes (Fives & Buehl, 2016). To understand how teachers use evaluative language to express their attitudes and beliefs, researchers from eight national contexts (France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK) have conducted a study of how teachers talk about multilingualism in schools. As there is a growing body of research showing the benefits of parental involvement for language development, for students’ identity formation, for improving students’ academic performance, and for integration in school and society (Bergnehr, 2015), we have examined how teachers talk about migrant parents in particular. Our focus is on the preschool and primary levels of education, as it is where children enter the education system and acquire fundamental literacy skills, possibly without initial mastery of the national majority language.

In the project, the researchers from each national context have followed the same interview protocol. Our participants are teachers from varied backgrounds in terms of urban vs. rural contexts, school demographics, personal histories, training on multilingualism, educational experiences, etc. Ten interviews from each country were chosen for a cross-national comparison on how teachers use evaluative language to express their attitudes and beliefs. Appraisal Analysis (Martin & White, 2005) offers a framework for quantifying and comparing instances of evaluative language as well as for revealing ideological positions. Each country team conducted an Appraisal Analysis of the selected interviews according to a joint interrater-tested coding scheme. We coded relevant linguistic expressions, concentrating on ATTITUDE (AFFECT, JUDGEMENT, and APPRECIATION) and GRADUATION (FORCE or FOCUS), additionally coding ATTITUDE as inscribed or invoked and as positive or negative. Our findings indicate, for example that many teachers articulate normative assessments of parents’ behavior with negative JUDGEMENTS of their CAPACITY or NORMALITY, with parents judged as lacking proficiency in the majority language, not understanding school culture, or insistent on using their home languages. However, if parents have a strong proficiency in the language of schooling, teachers see this as a positive CAPACITY, which may be associated with SECURITY or INCLINATION. Some teachers also express positive APPRECIATION towards diversity, with multilingualism deemed as WORTHWHILE.

In this presentation, the overall project will first be briefly described, together with methodological considerations of a large-scale cross-national comparison. The Appraisal Analysis framework and the coding in Atlas.ti of the quantitative comparisons as well as co-occurrences of coding will then be presented before an overview of the results. The tensions in the teachers’ talk about migrant parents, as evident in the comparative Appraisal Analysis of about 80 interviews, will be exemplified. While some studies address specific national contexts (e.g. Cunningham, 2017; Young, 2014), there is an extensive gap in research generating comparable data from different countries. Thus, such research as the present study is needed as a foundation for exploring how different societal and political circumstances may impact multilingual students’ schooling.

BethAnne Paulsrud is Associate Professor of English Applied Linguistics at Dalarna University, Sweden. Her work as a teacher educator and researcher is informed by her many years of experience as a qualified preschool and primary school teacher, as well as a mother tongue teacher. Her research focuses on multilingualism in education policy and practice, teacher education, English and English-medium instruction in Sweden, and family language policy. She has previously edited three volumes on translanguaging, two focusing broadly on education (Multilingual Matters, 2017, and Studentlitteratur, 2018) and one more specifically on English-medium instruction and translanguaging in global contexts (Multilingual Matters, 2021). While she has mainly worked, taught, and conducted research in Sweden, she has also spent time teaching in Vietnam and South Africa. In the Autumn term of 2023, BethAnne Paulsrud is teaching in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong as a STINT scholar (The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education).

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